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O’Reilly And Beck Half-Jokingly Accuse Obama Of Masterminding Birthers

Reported by Ellen - February 8, 2010 -

It’s a sorry state of affairs when Glenn Beck sounds like the voice of reason but that’s what happened more than once in the “At Your Beck & Call” segment on The O’Reilly Factor Friday (2/5/10). After a deferential interview with Jon Stewart that aired over two nights on Wednesday and Thursday (2/3 and 2/4), Bill O’Reilly lit into Stewart with a hypocritical vengeance on Friday, when Stewart was gone and unable to defend himself. Then, as O’Reilly and Beck played “who, me?” innocent about those trying to tear down Obama instead of arguing his policies, the two pundits turned around and immediately half-jokingly accused Obama of being the mastermind behind the birthers “because it unites their base.” O’Reilly added, presumably as a joke, “I think the reason they didn’t ever produce the birth certificate is because they wanted these loons out there.” It was Beck who gently reminded O'Reilly that Obama HAS produced his birth certificate. With video.

The whole point of the discussion seemed to be a rebuttal of Jon Stewart’s criticism of Fox News, obviously with Beck in mind, as reported by Julie:

Stewart: Here's what Fox has done through their cyclonic, perpetual emotion machine that is a 24-hour a day, seven day a week, they've taken reasonable concerns about this President and this economy and turned it into a full-fledged panic attack about the next coming of Chairman Mao. Explain to me why that is the narrative of your network."

O'Reilly lamely attempted to defend Fox, saying, "It's the narrative of a couple of guys, a Republican, Sean Hannity, and a guy, uh, uh, Glenn Beck, who's basically Everyman."

Stewart was aghast. "What do you mean, he's Everyman? What do you mean, he's Everyman?"

With Beck, O’Reilly repeated his "Everyman" argument, which has been perfectly debunked by Auntie Em here.

Beck defended himself by pretending that he’s only looking out for the country. “My motive is – when I first got into radio, I was 13. So it was entertain, have fun, etc., etc. Now, my motive for saying the things that I say is radically different. It changed on September 11th . I didn’t feel that I was educated enough or the guy to speak to America after September 11th. So I dedicated myself to read, to study, to learn, to seek out information. My motive now is, I’ve got four children. I’d like an America to be around. It’s why I took on the Republican Party during Bush and said, ‘Look at what they’re doing.’" I’d love to see someone really confront Beck over his tactics and make him explain why, if he’s such a patriot, he repeatedly uses violent imagery and histrionics to make his points. And why does he continue to claim, when it’s convenient, that he’s just an entertainer?

Not only did O’Reilly not confront Beck, he went to bat for him. “And I hit Stewart for that. That was crazy.” O’Reilly helpfully added, “So you want to save the country. You basically want to save it… Paul Revere with a strange haircut.”

Beck said amiably, “(Stewart) thinks I’m the anti-Christ… I think Jon Stewart is a smart guy. I think he’s a funny guy. I’ve always enjoyed Jon Stewart.”

“No animus toward him?” O’Reilly asked with a bit of disbelief.

“No,” Beck said convincingly.

“Don’t think he’s destroying the country?”

“No!” Beck was emphatic.

Here’s where O’Reilly began to jump the shark and sound like Beck talking about Obama. “I do. I do (think Stewart is destroying the country) …And here’s why… If you watch his show, you almost have to smoke marijuana, just to get through it. So he’s kind of undermining the whole fabric…”

“So have you ever watched the show?” Beck asked.

“No. ‘Cause I never smoked marijuana,” O’Reilly said. Then he called out, “We’re only kiddin’ out there, you loons. This is the humorous part of The Factor.”

Then, after Beck reiterated that he did not take Stewart’s criticism personally, O’Reilly played a clip of Obama saying at the National Prayer Breakfast, “Surely, you can question my policies without questioning my faith. Or for that matter, my citizenship.”

O’Reilly said, “I like that. What’s wrong with that?”

“Nothing wrong with that,” Beck said. And then he started on his attack schtick. “…I think it’s interesting – I’d like to know if it was in the teleprompter or if it was an ad lib. Because this proves my point for all these people who are like (Beck changed his voice and began gesticulating to mock his critics) ‘Aw, you birther!’ …Who’s bringing up the birther? The only time I ever see a birther is like in a parking lot with a sign… Who’s bringing it up? This administration brings it up all the time. They need the birth certificate thing because it unites their base.”

Well, for starters, as Beck and O’Reilly must surely know, there’s Joseph Farah, of World Net Daily, hardly some guy in a parking lot with a sign. In fact, he spoke about the subject that very day – and received cheers from the crowd - at the Tea Party Convention, the same event that Fox News relentlessly hyped. There’s also Jerome Corsi, co-author of the Swift Boat Veterans attack book, one of Fox's fave subjects in 2004 and given a double segment on Hannity to tout his new anti-Obama book as recently as October, 2009. And speaking of Hannity, he also gave credence to the birthers on more than one occasion. Are all those people in cahoots with the Obama administration?

O’Reilly must think so. “I agree with you 100%,” he told Beck.

“You might as well just go on the payroll for Barack Obama,” Beck said, returning to his role as the reasonable one.

It was O’Reilly who said, (and we’ll assume he was joking but he said it in a serious tone), “I think the reason they didn’t ever produce the birth certificate is because they wanted these loons out there.”

Beck replied, “Hang on. I think he has produced the birth certificate.” Yes, Obama has produced it.

“We have a facsimile,” O’Reilly said, sounding more and more like a birther loon, himself. “But I want him to send (the original) directly to me." Then, in what may be one of the greatest non-sequitors of all time, O'Reilly said, "But President Obama is right when he says, I think, that you can disagree with his politics all day long but you don’t have to tear him up as a human being.”

“Do you think I tear him up as a human being?” Beck asked with a straight face.

Also with a straight face, O’Reilly said, “No, I don’t. I don’t think that you’re an Obama hater. And I told that to Stewart and all these other pin heads.”